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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Commentary

Why Do We Put Cervical Collars On Conscious Trauma Patients?

Jonathan Benger1* and Julian Blackham2

Author Affiliations

1 Professor of Emergency Care, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

2 Specialist Trainee in Emergency Medicine, Academic Department of Emergency Care, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK

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Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2009, 17:44  doi:10.1186/1757-7241-17-44

Published: 18 September 2009


In this commentary we argue that fully alert, stable and co-operative trauma patients do not require the application of a semi-rigid cervical collar, even if they are suspected of underlying cervical spine fracture, unless their conscious level deteriorates or they find the short-term support of a cervical collar helpful. Despite the historical and cultural barriers that exist, the potential benefits are such that this hypothesis merits rigorous testing in well-designed research trials.